Students with experience in Jumpstart Our Youth feel empowered to find solutions to everyday needs, even outside the structured annual grant process. At Spruce Mountain High School, JMG Specialist Barbara Jewett notes that students who have had more experience with the JOY program are seeing more deliberate connections between what they have learned about the potential for philanthropy and volunteering, and their ability to make a difference.
This year, even before the JOY program kicked off, Spruce Mountain JMG students spearheaded a fundraising effort to assist a fellow student whose family had lost their home to a fire and raised $500 from school events. They also find ways to stay connected with their very first JOY grantee, the Tri-Town Ministerial Food Cupboard. They volunteer regularly, and raise money outside the grant process. This year they had fun with “Hat Day”; all students could wear a hat in school for $1, which was donated to the food cupboard.
JMG also welcomed “To Write on Her Arm”, a national student education and referral service seeking to raise awareness about mental and behavioral health issues. The nonprofit works with schools to implement programs that fit in with a school’s culture. Recognizing that they could connect the organization’s powerful mission with an often unspoken need among peers, the JMG students instantly understood the expertise and commitment of the nonprofit and its benefit to teens.
Specialist Barbara Jewett observes, “Students have a grasp on the fact that they can find creative solutions to meet needs in the community. The JOY program provides a wonderful foundation to teach them to make connections – which they now do throughout the year and not just when we have the formal process.”